AILA Doc. No. 13032947 | Dated December 6, 2016
Any immigration reform effort must address America's outdated permanent immigration system and eliminate the long periods-often many years-that families, employers, and prospective employees must wait to come to the United States. Our permanent immigration policies are intended to promote family unification, facilitate immigrant assimilation, and unleash immigrants' economic dynamism. Unfortunately, our current policies do just the opposite by forcing families to wait years to be reunited and hampering economic growth.
Current immigration policy places a cap of 140,000 on employment-based immigrant visas, which are divided into five preference categories. These categories are: priority workers; professionals holding advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability; skilled workers; special immigrants; and employment creation investors. Spouses and children accompanying the worker count toward the cap.
Just as in the family immigration system, significant backlogs exist in the employment-based green card system even as U.S. businesses face a variety of skill needs and a shortage of American workers to fill those needs. Depending on the country they come from, some of these skilled workers are facing unfathomable wait times.
Talented immigrants have made and continue to make crucial contributions to the development of next generation technologies and have founded some of the most innovative businesses in the United States. As global economic integration deepens, sustainable growth will depend in part on our continued ability to attract the best and brightest innovators.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 13032947.